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Government IP review needs to embrace software differences

Simon Quicke

The Federation Against Software Theft has warned that the government's review of the intellectual property system might not benefit the software market because of the focus on protecting the copyright of music and films.

FAST has made a submission to the Hargreaves Review, which is looking at how IP can be protected to harness more growth, pointing out that there has to be more consideration towards the different creative industries in the UK.

Professor Ian Hargreaves was given the position of starting an independent review on IP last November and he is expected to report back in April.

"Whilst in principle the IP system is fairly simple, it covers such a range of industries from man y sectors which are reliant on strong IP rights in so many varying ways," said Julian Heathcote Hobbins, general counsel at FAST.

In its submission FAST underlined the size and economic contribution from the software industry, which turns over more than £50bn and employs 430,000 people.

The anti-piracy group also used its submission as a chance to highlight the tough times faced by the software industry which has not only faced reductions in available credit but seen private equity funding drying up.

"The impact on the high tech supply chain is more significant than on other sectors as the structure of the industry is the UK is such that there are many small high tech companies and the high technology business is an ecosystem of collaborative and often smaller companies," he added.

The FAST submission follows on from one made by the CBI which urged the review to come to the conclusion that there had to be a global framework to protect IP rights.

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